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12/25/2009

Observing Form

Well, my plans for going out tonight are hampered again my clouds, fog and inversion. Clear Sky Chart says tomorrow should work, let's hope. So tonight I made a new observing form and thought I would share it. It is based on the one by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada with my modifications on it. Please feel free to use it, copy it, modify it for your own uses. If you go to the RASC site and look at their form, they have a second page that fits with this one with an explanation. I'll cover parts here from my form. The PDF version and a Word Version are below. They are in Google Documents and you can view them and then decide if you want to download them.

Page: You may want to keep your logs by type of object and put a page number on them, or some put logs in order by date of observation. Many keep them in a three ring binder which I suggest.

Date: Date the observation takes place using this format as recommended by the RASC: January 1st, 2010.

Time: Time of the observation in Universal Coordinated Time. Where I live in Utah we are 6 hours behind UCT in standard time and 7 hours behind in daylight savings. So I add those hours to my current time to get the UCT. This allows others to know what time your observations occurred in relation to their own time zone. It is something that moving forward I have to do a much better job as I have fluctuated between local and UCT time.

Location: Where your observing session took place i.e. Stansbury Park, UT.

Seeing: Using the RASC form I used their transparency model of 1 hazy or murky to 5 perfect.
I used a 10 point scale on seeing goign from 1 (rampant scintillation to 10 very steady; no twinkling even at your highest power). This is a subjective rating.

Limiting Visual Magnitude: Using the RASC handbook and the Little Dipper as the guide, this reflects the faintest naked eye star visible. For questions please see their handbook or if you haven't purchased one, great investment of $25 (and I have no arrangement with the RASC for monetary kickback).

Object: Please list the catalog number like M1 for Messier 1, or NGC 3047 etc.
Type: OC (open cluster); GC (globular cluster); SNR (Supernova Remnant; EN
(Emission Nebula); RN (Reflection Nebula); PN (Planetary Nebula); DS (Double Star).
For Galaxies I list them as: SG (Spiral Galaxy); BSG (Barred Spiral Galaxy); EG
(Elliptical Galaxy); IrrG (Irregular Galaxy).

Mag: Listed Magnitude of this object.
Size: ngular size of this object.
Const: What constellation this object is found in.
Instrument: What instrument did you use to view this object
Eyepiece: Size of eyepiece(s) used to observe (or the one you used the most).
Filter: Type of Filter used (if you used one).
RA/Dec: Right Ascension (in Hr, Min., Sec.,) and Declination (Deg. Min., Sec.,) of the object.
Notes: Notes from your observation
Sketch: Area to sketch the object as seen through the eyepiece you have used the most on this object.

I have also picked up on one item the RASC has on their form that I need to include. It is a place to record a chart reference to where on a star chart an object is located. For example, Sky Atlas 2000 Chart 8 20h etc. This will allow the user of the form to find the object again, and others who may have the same atlas to know where to look to find the object.

Edit: I made the change below

If you have comments on the form please leave them and I will try to adjust. The form was made in Microsoft Word for a Mac (you'll need the Mac version or the Office 2007 version of word). I also made it into a PDF so if it doesn't work, please let me know. Here is the link to GoogleDocs where you can download it from:

Edit: Use the PDF version as this one seems to be the one that is working correctly.

PDF Form:
Astronomical Observing Form

Microsoft Word (on Mac):
Mac Word or 2007 Word Version


Also, in case anyone wants to see what I hope to be going after in January (since December has been a dismal failure for Herschel Objects) here is my list. Again this is in Excel format for a Mac or for Excel 2007. If someone leaves a comment and wants it in a different format I will try my hardest to accommodate.

Herschel Focus Items January 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays to each of you today! I haven't been out in over a month due to being ill and just yucky winter weather. I was hoping to get out tonight but the clouds have moved in where I live. Oh well, I guess its just not to happen.

I do want to make you aware of a wonderful service that Gary Honis is doing (and I got the link from Cloudy Nights). It allows you to print out in whatever size you want, and even in a business size the moon phases for each month in 2010. Could help in making plans to observe in the new year! Thanks Gary for doing this and I'll sticky it in my one my links on the right hand side. Here is the link: Moon Phase Calendar 2010

Merry Christmas and I sure hope I can get out sometime soon!